Under Fire Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How do the men respond when asked to describe life on the front?

2. How is Joseph Mesnil injured?

3. Why does Barque suggest that the author might have the characters in his book use "big words" instead of speaking naturally?

4. How long does Joseph wait before receiving aid at the refuge?

5. The Marist brother, mentioned early in the book, is seen serving what role in the hospital?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The author demonstrates that in the war, life is cheap. Soldiers on both sides die for mundane reasons with no clear gain. The poilus of Bertrand's squad and others show that the deaths of strangers mean little to them, and the death of friends is common and unremarkable, though sad.

Part 1) Cite and explain examples from the book to show how the author establishes the poilus' attitude towards death..

Part 2) Discuss the theme of the cheapness of life. What are some of the smallest and most meaningless reasons that soldiers die in the novel? How do the soldiers react to these events?

Part 3) Do the men of Cpl. Bertrand's squad seem aware of the cheapness of their own lives? How do they deal with the nearly constant threat of death, and the knowledge that death may mean nothing?

Essay Topic 2

Functional equipment is discussed throughout the novel indirectly by the narrator and openly by members of the squad. The men live and sometimes die by the equipment that they carry, and so its nature, maintenance and quality is of utmost importance. The men use a variety of standard issue, irregular, and even improvised equipment.

Part 1) What do the men think of their standard-issue equipment and supplies from the government? Do they generally find that these things are adequate for their day-to-day needs and the demands of battle?

Part 2) How do the men supplement their government-issued equipment? How do they personalize and augment their clothing, weapons, and supplies?

Part 3) What are the men's priorities when selecting and dealing with their equipment? What factors seem most important, and which seem of little relevance to them?

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the novel, many opinions of the poilus are articulated indirectly. The perspective always stays with the men of Bertrand's squad and almost always with the narrator, but through the experiences of these men, the perceptions of many other people towards the poilus becomes clear.

Part 1) Explain how the poilus, and particularly groups like Bertrand's squad, who have spent a great deal of time in the trenches, are perceived by the more active forces, such as other formations that are on the march, or the Moroccan Division.

Part 2) Describe the shirker's attitudes towards the poilus. How are these attitudes shaped by the shirker's own failures and vices?

Part 3) Explain how the civilians and journalists see the poilus. How are these perceptions shaped by this group's desire to support the war?

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 568 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
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